Littleton v. Harkleroad et al
ORDER denying 34 Motion to Amend and 35 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Signed by District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr on 7/9/13. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.)(ejb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
WILLIAM ANDREW LITTLETON,
SID HARKLEROAD, et al.,
THIS MATTER is before the court on Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction,
(Doc. No. 34), and on Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend, (Doc. No. 35).
On October 12, 2011, pro se Plaintiff, a state court inmate currently incarcerated at
Lanesboro Correctional Institution, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging in general
that Defendants Sid Harkleroad, Randy Teague, George Branker, and Robert C. Lewis were
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. (Doc. No. 1). The Complaint alleges, in
part, that the named Defendants failed to adequately address Plaintiff’s medical needs, despite
Plaintiff’s requests that they do so and despite knowledge regarding his medical condition, which
Plaintiff characterizes as attempted murder. (Id. at 4, 13, 15-22). Plaintiff requests monetary
damages, including compensatory and punitive damages, and preliminary and permanent
injunctive relief. (Id. at 4, 8-9). Plaintiff moved for the appointment of counsel on October 12,
2011. (Doc. No. 2).
Having conducted a frivolity review, on January 12, 2012, the Court dismissed Defendant
Branker from this action, denied Plaintiff’s motion to appoint counsel, and ordered Defendant
Harkleroad, Lewis, and Teague to respond to Plaintiff’s allegations. (Doc. No. 5). On January
27, 2012, Defendants filed a Motion for Extension of Time to respond to Plaintiff’s Complaint,
(Doc. No. 7), and the Court granted that motion on January 31, 2012, extending Defendants’
responsive deadline up to and including March 13, 2012, (Doc. No. 11).
On March 9, 2012, Defendants timely filed their Response in Opposition to Plaintiff’s
Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and other miscellaneous motions. (Doc. No. 16). On March
12, 2012, this Court denied Plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, motions for
subpoenas, and motion to appoint counsel. (Doc. No. 17). Also on March 12, 2012, Defendants
Harkleroad, Teague, and Lewis timely filed their joint Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. (Doc.
No. 19). On August 7, 2012, this Court partially granted and partially denied Defendants’
Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. No. 29). As a result of the Court’s Order, the only remaining
Defendant in this action is Defendant Teague. (Id.). On August 21, 2012, Defendant Teague
timely answered Plaintiff’s Complaint. (Doc. No. 30). On May 17, 2013, this Court entered a
pretrial order and case management plan. (Doc. No. 32). Finally, on June 3, 2013, Plaintiff filed
the pending Motion for Preliminary Injunction, (Doc. No. 34), as well as a Motion to Amend,
(Doc. No. 35), to which Defendant Teague has now responded.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction
A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy afforded before trial at the discretion
of the district court. In re Microsoft Corp. Antitrust Litig., 333 F.3d 517, 524-26 (4th Cir. 2003).
It is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right. Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council,
Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008). In each case, courts “must balance the competing claims of injury
and must consider the effect on each party of the granting or withholding of the requested relief.”
Amoco Prod. Co. v. Village of Gambell, 480 U.S. 531, 542 (1987). “[C]ourts of equity should
pay particular regard for the public consequences in employing the extraordinary remedy of
injunction.” Winter, 555 U.S. at 24. To obtain a preliminary injunction, the plaintiff must
establish (1) that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) that he is likely to suffer irreparable
harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) that the balance of equities tips in his favor; and (4)
that an injunction is in the public interest. Real Truth About Obama, Inc. v. Fed. Election
Comm’n, 575 F.3d 342, 346 (4th Cir. 2009).
Reviewing Plaintiff’s motion based on the above factors, Plaintiff is not entitled to a
preliminary injunction. In support of his motion, Plaintiff states only that he seeks a preliminary
injunction against “Lanesboro Correctional Institution and Dr. Hassan Sami to get medical care
as  the doctor here cannot find out what is wrong with my feet.” (Doc. No. 35 at 1). Plaintiff
also requests that this Court order that Plaintiff be allowed to see a “specialist” so he does not
have to “suffer” anymore. (Id.). However, Plaintiff does not speculate as to how his medical
condition is otherwise being irreparably harmed during the pendency of the instant action.
Indeed, in the motion for preliminary injunction, Plaintiff does not even mention the subject
matter of the instant action—an alleged deliberate indifference to serious medical needs which
occurred at another facility, Marion Correctional Institution. Nor does Plaintiff demonstrate the
probability that he will prevail on the merits of his case in this action. Plaintiff has simply not
shown that he is entitled to a preliminary injunction, and his motion will therefore be denied.
Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend
Rule 15(a) states that a court “should freely give leave [to amend] when justice so
requires.” FED. R. CIV. P. 15(a)(2). Thus, a district court may not deny a motion to amend
without a justifying reason “such as undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the
movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue
prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment,
etc.” Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). With regard to prejudicial amendments, the
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has stated:
Whether an amendment is prejudicial will often be determined by the nature of
the amendment and its timing. A common example of a prejudicial amendment is
one that ‘raises a new legal theory that would require the gathering and analysis of
facts not already considered by the [defendant, and] is offered shortly before or
during trial. An amendment is not prejudicial, by contrast, if it merely adds an
additional theory of recovery to the facts already pled and is offered before any
discovery has occurred . . . .
A moment’s reflection reveals, however, that the further the case progressed
before judgment was entered, the more likely it is that the amendment will
prejudice the defendant or that a court will find bad faith on the plaintiff’s part.
Laber v. Harvey, 438 F.3d 404, 426-27 (4th Cir. 2006) (internal quotations and citations
Plaintiff originally filed this action on October 12, 2011. A case management order and
pretrial plan has been entered in this matter, with dispositive motions due on October 15, 2013,
and Defendant Teague has answered the allegations made by Plaintiff in his original complaint.
Plaintiff now seeks, nearly two years after his initial filing date, to add new claims and parties to
this action, and the allegations contained in Plaintiff’s motion to amend are completely unrelated
to Defendant Teague or the instant action. The addition of new parties would require service on
them as well as allowance for enough time to investigate the allegations, answer the allegations,
complete discovery, and file dispositive motions with regards to the new allegations. To allow
Plaintiff to amend his pleadings and add new claims at this late stage would certainly prejudice
Defendant Teague and delay these proceedings. Moreover, under Rule 20 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, when a plaintiff seeks to bring multiple claims against multiple defendants,
Plaintiff must demonstrate, first, that the right to relief asserted against the proposed defendants
arises from “the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences,” and,
second, that a question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action. FED. R.
CIV. P. 20. Here, Plaintiff's proposed additional claims involve additional defendants and arise
out of events alleged to have occurred nearly two years after the filing of his initial complaint. In
sum, the Court will deny Plaintiff’s motion to amend because allowing the amendment would be
unduly prejudicial to Defendant Teague and would inordinately delay these proceedings, and
because the proposed new claims are not sufficiently related to Plaintiff’s original claims as
required by Rule 20. See Smith v. Angelone, 111 F.3d 1126, 1133-34 (4th Cir. 1997) (affirming
the denial of leave to amend to an inmate petitioner in a habeas petition action as the
amendments were “inordinately prejudicial” because the case was set for hearing within two
weeks of the motion, and to allow the amendments would require the district court to order more
discovery, reschedule the pending hearing, and would cause indefinite delay in the resolution of
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend, (Doc. No. 34), and
Motion for Preliminary Injunction, (Doc. No. 35), are each DENIED.
Signed: July 9, 2013
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?